As the province begins to transition into a new stage of the pandemic, Harrison Hot Springs officials took cautious yet optimistic look into the near future.
During his weekly address to the the villagers released on May 8, Harrison Hot Springs Mayor Leo Facio announced that on May 15 (Friday), the village will be removing the barricades blocking access to Esplanade Avenue and open the village boat launch. This aligns with Phase 2 of the B.C. government’s reopening plan as unveiled at the beginning of May. Phase 2 allows for reopening of a number of businesses with enhanced coronavirus protocols in place, including parks, beaches and outdoor spaces.
“As promised, we will work in tandem with the province, following their lead and trusting the guidance of [Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry,]” Facio said. “Please continue to show your support for our local businesses. I’m sure they’ll be glad to see so many locals returning to support them.”
Facio further announced that on June 1, council meetings will be held in Memorial Hall with a 50-person attendance capacity. This was decided during the last village council meeting on Monday, May 4.
“This move is to make it possible for Council to meet together in person and to allow for the public to be present while all maintaining a safe physical distance,” Facio said.
Should infections continue their downward trend, Facio said campgrounds could reopen next month. For the time being, children’s play areas, tennis courts, pickle ball courts and outdoor exercise equipment will remain closed per provincial guidelines. In continued efforts to enforce provincial health orders, bylaw officers and RCMP will continue to patrol the village “on a regular basis,” according to Facio.
The following guidelines are in place from the Ministry of Health regarding personal care and social interactions:
- No hand shaking
- Practice good hygiene
- Maintain physical distancing when out in the community
- If you have the symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19 stay at home until those symptoms have completely disappeared.
- If you are at greater risk (>60, compromised immune system, underlying chronic medical conditions) get informed about risk, assess your own risk tolerance, think through and apply extra precautions and heightened vigilance.
- Maintain regular social contact with extended family or friends in small groups (around 2-6 guests) while maintaining a safe physical distance.
Facio acknowledged that visitors do continue to come to the village even with the barricades and pleas from the community to refrain from doing so until it’s safe to return. He encouraged residents in need of some appropriate outdoor time to try to leave the house in the mornings or evenings as that’s when visitor traffic seems to die down.
“We have all done a very good job of self-regulating and I have full confidence that you will continue to take precautions for the safety of yourselves, your family, neighbours and frontline workers,” Facio said.
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